friday feast: peeling it back with j. patrick lewis (the top banana)

Top Banana by shutterbugdeb

I must confess to feeling quite yellow today.

Not yellow as in dingy or cowardly.

Yellow as in sunshiny bright and slap happy. It’s all because I’ve just read a poem that feels like it was written just for me. ☺

Oh, at last! Somebody understands! Somebody KNOWS. And it’s our  Children’s Poet Laureate, no less. Phew! I thought I was the only one. Yes, we have some bananas today.


by J. Patrick Lewis

Why not divide the world in two:
Those who don’t from those who do
Detest banana strings? Do you?

I wish bananas just came plain
Without that long mushy membrane,
That nauseating food chain chain.

Take a banana, then start to peel.
Now tell the truth, how does it feel?
And don’t ask me, What’s the big deal?

If I so much as see a string,
I tweezer off the ugly thing
As gummy as a bathtub ring.

Would you eat hot dogs wearing hair?
No! Say good night to this nightmare.
Always eat your bananas bare.

Copyright © 2011 J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.

While we’re in a bare bananas frame of mind, do you by chance also belong to the, “I’m the only one in my house who eats bananas, and hate when the entire bunch ripens at the same time” club? Oh, the pressure to eat them all!

This just in: There’s hope! Supposedly, if you peel a banana top to bottom with the stem side down (like monkeys do), the strings (phloem bundles) are less likely to adhere to the fruit.

I tried this with my breakfast banana the other day, and it didn’t work. Those strings were still clinging and messy and positively mocking me! What am I doing wrong? They just won’t leave me alone. But you might have better luck. My only consolation is that I have Pat’s poem, which I’ll henceforth read several times before battling any future strings.

Phloem bundles? Who knew they had such an important function — carrying nutrients to the entire fruit? Mother Nature doesn’t make any mistakes. But she sure likes to string us along (sorry, couldn’t resist). ☺

Thanks a bunch, Pat!

To alleviate your string stress, wrap your lips around this (no strings attached):

(click for Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie recipe)

♥ Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup host is Katie at Secrets and Sharing Soda. Feast on the full menu of poems and enjoy your weekend!

♥ Visit J. Patrick Lewis’s official website!

♥ For more monkey business, i.e., a “disturbing new fashion trend,” read this.

♥ To bask in more yellowness, click here.

♥ Yes, there is even a I Hate Banana Strings Facebook Page.

One more thing: Do you peel as you go, or take the entire peel off before eating? I like my bananas totally naked. ☺


Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “friday feast: peeling it back with j. patrick lewis (the top banana)

  1. “As gummy as a bathtub rug” — what a sensory line. I am an “as you go” banana eater. Everyone in my house has a half a banana for breakfast. It’s a tradition.

    Hope your great mood continues. Thanks for spreading the sunshine.


  2. Wonderful post, Jama.

    As a young girl with a serious intolerance to milk, I was convinced that the delicious whip my mother created out of frozen bananas that had turned brown was the next best thing to ice cream.



  3. Homylord. Please dont tell me you made that black bottom banana cream pie – i would be absolutely envious!!! soooo yummy. i love your food posts and how it’s tied to poetry. visiting your site always always makes me hungry.

    there was a time when i made a mean banoffee pie. really yummy. i can’t for the life of me remember where those days went. 😦


  4. personally, i don’t mind the strings, except when making banana bread where they are just too bitter for the rest of the mash.

    as for what to do with excess ripe bananas… pulp and freeze them!

    fun poem, despite my being in the opposing camp.


    1. “don’t mind the strings”?

      Well, okay, you’re entitled :). I’m too lazy to do anything with overripe bananas, like freeze or make bread . . .


  5. What a fantastic poem! I hate banana strings! That bit about hair on hotdogs made my stomach turn a bit! LOL My favorite pie in the world is banana cream, but alas, I can’t really have that anymore. 😦


  6. in the VEIN of AAMilne, definitely, what a joyful poem, i am going to print that one out – no wonder he doesn’t like them with a name like phloem bundles – uck


    1. Hee — there’s a STRAND of truth in your comment — wonder who came up with the name, “phloem bundles” anyway? Obviously someone who ate far too many strings. 🙂


  7. “Phloem” is a term familiar to botanists. In school we learned that the xylem and the phloem carry water and nutrients through a plant. I never particularly liked banana strings, but I didn’t find them too difficult to get rid of. Not like the strings on snow peas and oranges, which can be a real pain to get rid of!


    1. You’re right about oranges and snow peas (don’t care for them to begin with). To think I took botany once upon a time and don’t remember learning about xylem and phloem! Sigh.


  8. “Do you peel as you go, or take the entire peel off before eating?”

    I guess it depends on my mood, and the size of the banana. The smaller the banana, I think, the more likely I will peel it completely. In general, though, I guess I like having the peel to hold onto while eating the banana (your hands get kind of messy trying to do that with a naked banana).

    I do agree with you that banana “strings” are disgusting, especially in the taste department. Blech! Not quite as obnoxious, but still unpleasant, are the “strings” on corn (I think they are usually called “silk”) — I wish I could figure out a technique for easily getting all of them off after shucking the corn.

    On a different (but still banana-related) note, a few years ago I was eating a banana and I noticed for the the first time that bananas can be fairly easily split (once peeled, of course) into three roughly equal longitudinal segments. I’m not sure why I had not noticed this feature of the fruit during all the previous years of eating them, but I thought it was pretty cool. Still do, in fact. — PL


    1. I recently read about being able to split a banana in 3 — but haven’t tried it yet! More banana adventures to come!

      Oh, you are SO right about corn silk, which is probably even worse than banana strings. They’re just so thin and slip between the rows of kernels.

      I attribute my “must take entire peel off before eating” to my father, who always does it that way. Seems I mimic him like a monkey when it comes to eating habits. 🙂


  9. I am *becoming* the only one in the house who will really eat them anymore, as my five-year-old is losing interest.

    I need an exciting new banana bread recipe is what I need, since I tend to get tired of the bread yet don’t want to waste bananas.


    1. Sorry to hear the little one is losing interest — not even in cereal? I will have to look for more interesting banana bread recipes too. Maybe banana muffins for a change!


  10. Sitting here shaking my head. What have I been doing all my life? I have neglected to ponder banana strings! Well, now, thanks to you and Pat, I won’t be able to eat a banana without thinking about them.

    Jules, I’ve got a fabulous banana muffin recipe that has both coffee and chocolate in it! Your entire breakfast (and two of the most important food groups — caffeine and chocolate) all in a muffin paper!!


    1. ML, you must post the banana muffin recipe! It does sound like an entire breakfast rolled into one :).

      Have fun with your banana strings . . .


Comments are closed.